Voice care speech pathologists

Voice care speech pathologists

Specialists in voice and swallowing disorders

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Speech pathologists are advanced practice providers who have a master’s degree or PhD and specialize in evaluating and treating conditions related to communication. Speech pathologists have additional specialized training in voice disorders and swallowing disorders.

Caroline Banka

Caroline Banka, MS, CCC-SLP, a clinical speech-language pathologist in the Duke Voice Care Center at Duke University Hospital in Durham, and Duke Raleigh Hospital. Banka received her MS in speech-language pathology at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She has specialized in the management of voice disorders for over nine years. She has advanced training in the area of voice, including study at the Summer Vocology Institute at the National Center for Voice and Speech. Her particular interest is occupational voice users -- that is, anyone for whom voice is an essential tool of the trade, including teachers, clergy, attorneys, and telemarketers. She frequently presents lectures on vocal health for this population. Banka is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She is also an avid choral singer and is a member of the Choral Society of Durham.

Hilary Bartholomew

Hilary Bartholomew, MS, CCC-SLP, is a clinical speech-language pathologist for the Duke Voice Care Center at Duke University Hospital and Duke Raleigh Hospital.  Bartholomew received her Bachelor of Arts in Music and Linguistics from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Vanderbilt University. While in graduate school, she completed an externship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where her training focused on voice and swallowing disorders in cancer patients, including head and neck cancer patients. She gained extensive knowledge in the area of voice while completing her clinical fellowship at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston. Bartholomew has experience treating a variety of voice disorders, including tracheo-esophageal voice prosthesis management, pediatric voice, and vocal cord dysfunction.  In addition, she is a co-Instructor for the graduate level voice disorders course at UNC-Chapel Hill. Bartholomew is a member of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.

Tara Nixon

Tara Nixon, MM, MS, CCC-SLP, is a Singing Voice Specialist and clinical speech-language pathologist at the Duke Voice Care Center. Nixon received her Bachelor’s degree in music from New College of Florida in 2007.  She continued her education at Appalachian State University where she received a Master of Music in Vocal Performance in 2010 and a Master of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 2012.  Her graduate studies culminated with a clinical internship at the Duke Voice Care Center during the summer of 2012, during which she received comprehensive training in voice evaluation and rehabilitation.  Nixon is a voice teacher and trained singer in many styles and has a passion for treating singers who have voice disorders. 

Gina Vess

Gina Vess, MA, CCC-SLP, is a clinical associate in the Duke University School of Medicine and a speech-language pathologist for the Duke Voice Care Center at Duke University Hospital and Duke Raleigh Hospital, where she also serves as the director of the clinical voice programs. She is also a clinical instructor in the School of Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill where she co-teaches a graduate class on voice disorders. Vess received her BA from UNC-Chapel Hill and her masters degree in communication disorders from Appalachian State University.  She has been working with people who have voice and swallowing disorders and head/neck cancer since 1994. Her voice expertise is evaluating and treating people who have medically complex and multi-factorial voice conditions including the aging voice and spasmodic dysphonia.  She also specializes in voice restoration and prosthetic management via tracheo-esophageal speech after cancer of the larynx, and management of swallowing disorders. Additionally, Vess is considered an expert in the area of paradoxical vocal cord dysfunction, chronic cough, and related irritable larynx conditions.  She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the North Carolina Speech Language and Hearing Association, and the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Her personal interests include rock climbing, hiking, and cycling.

Leda Scearce

Leda Scearce, MM, MS, CCC-SLP is Singing Voice Specialist, Clinical Associate Faculty and Director of Performing Voice Programs and Development at the Duke Voice Care Center. She obtained a Master of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Boston University, where she completed an internship in voice disorders and voice rehabilitation for the performing voice at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.  She also holds bachelors and masters degrees in vocal performance from Indiana University.  As a member of the Duke Voice Care Center team, she provides voice evaluation and clinical rehabilitation therapy to singers, actors and other vocal performers with voice disorders. A voice teacher for over 25 years, Scearce has served on the artist faculties of Bowling Green State University, Meredith College, Brigham Young University of Hawaii and the University of Southern Maine.  She currently holds an appointment as Adjunct Assistant Professor of the Practice of Music in the Duke University Department of Music, where she acts as consultant in vocal health and wellness. Her performance experience includes appearances as leading soprano and soloist with opera companies, orchestras, and music festivals across the United States, and she maintains an active performance career. Scearce is a frequent speaker on the topic of the singing voice at national and international voice conferences, including the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the Voice Foundation, National Association of Teachers of Singing, the International Conference on the Physiology and Acoustics of Singing, The National Center for Voice and Speech, the McIver Lecture in Vocal Pedagogy and the North Carolina Regional Chapter of the Acoustical Society of America.  She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the Voice Foundation, National Association of Teachers of Singing, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and serves as member at large for the North Carolina Regional Chapter of the Acoustical Society of America. 

Emily Scheuring

Emily Scheuring, MEd, CCC-SLP, is a clinical speech-language pathologist for the Duke Voice Care Center. Scheuring received her BA in vocal performance and speech and hearing science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008 and her MEd in speech-language pathology from the University of Virginia in 2010. During graduate school, Scheuring completed her final clinical practicum in speech-language pathology at Duke Voice Care Center, where she underwent extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of voice disorders. While Scheuring enjoys working with patients representing the full gamut of voice disorder populations, she holds special interest in rehabilitating the singing voice.  She is currently working on her second master’s degree in vocal pedagogy at UNC-Greensboro.